Ripon Wisconsin

Baraboo Circus World Museum


baraboo circus world museum

circus wagon-01At one time, almost one hundred years ago, the Ringling Bros. Circus had their Winter quarters on the north bank of the Baraboo River. The area was known as Ringlingville. The Ringling Bros. Circus last wintered here in 1918. It is now a National Historic Landmark. The Circus World will open the Ringling Animal House and the baggage horse barn and the Circus World Museum's wardrobe department for visitors.

circus wagon-02Exhibits at the Circus World Museum include The Story of the Ringling Brothers, A Century of Spectacle, Trumpets of Paper, and a big-screen video about the Ringling Brothers.


circus wagon-03The "Ring Barn" has a clown exhibit, a miniature circus and other exhibits. Exhibits can also be viewed in the W.W. Deppe Wagon Pavilion, such as fifty beautifully restored circus wagons, a circus train exhibit, and an exhibit titled "From Horse Power to Horsepower." Visitors can also see the tools used to restore circus wagons and the actual wagons waiting to be restored.

circus wagon-04The wagons used to haul all the circus equipment and the circus animals were, at first, plain but, when people tended to gather around the route that the wagons would take when traveling from one town to another and watching the wagons as they went by, the circus' started to decorate the wagons to make them special. Barnum & Bailey returned, in 1903, from a five-year tour of Europe and staged a huge parade to announce their return."The Greatest Show On Earth" had several new, elaborately constructed wagons built. It wasn't long before all of the other shows followed suit, creating intricate new wagons for their parades.

circus wagon-05For a number of years from 1963 until 2003, the Circus Museum annually staged a parade of 75 historic circus wagons through the city of Milwaukee. At first it was well attended but, after the novelty wore off, attendance waned and the parade was finally cancelled. Today, the Museum has its circus parade through the streets of Baraboo, Wisconsin.

The Baraboo Circus World Museum is wheelchair accessible.

In Season Schedule:

The museum is open daily May 19 through September 3, 2007, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Performance Season Admission Rates
Adults $14.95
Children (5-11) $7.95
Senior citizens (65 and over) $12.95

Off-Season Hours and Dates
Six larger buildings are open year round, including the Irvin Feld Exhibit Hall and Visitor Center, the Ringling Bros. Ring Barn, the W.W. Deppe Wagon Pavilion, the C.P. Fox Wagon Restoration Center, the 1899 Animal House and the 1899 Elephant House.

Off-Season Admission Rates
Adults $7
Children (5-11) $3.50
Senior citizens (65 and over) $6
Members of the Wisconsin Historical Society receive a 50-percent discount on admission.

Circus World Museum
550 Water Street (Highway 113)
Baraboo, WI 53913

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